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China’s Pastors Take Their Stand: Jesus Is Lord!

BY JOHN STONESTREET/BREAKPOINT.ORG

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I want you to meet some brave Christian leaders pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
When thinking of the golden age of the Church, many of us hearken back to the book of Acts, when Peter and John stood up to the religious authorities, who told them to be silent about Jesus the risen Messiah. “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God,” they answered, “you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Then they prayed for boldness, and the Church exploded across much of the ancient world.
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But there’s a golden age for the church going on right now–with the same kind of courage, persecution, and Spirit-empowered growth. Where is it? In communist China.
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World missions historians tell us that when all the foreign missionaries were kicked out of Mao’s China a few years after the Second World War, there were probably no more than 3 million believers in Jesus Christ in the whole, vast nation.
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But today, seven decades later, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life counts 67 million Christians of all kinds–35 million independent Protestants, 23 million Protestants in government-sanctioned churches, and 9 million Catholics. Other estimates go even higher.
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Whatever the true number is, it’s almost as many as there are members of the Communist Party! Maybe that’s why the government is cracking down on Christians. According to Christianity Today and other news outlets, Under President Xi Jinping, China’s government has been tightening its grip on religious affairs.
In February, regulations aimed at religious groups have brought increased pressure on churches to be “Chinese” culturally and to submit to the authority of the Communist Party. Churches are being told to burn their crosses and replace them with Chinese flags and to display slogans praising the Communist Party. Some are being forced to join the government-sanctioned churches and permit video surveillance of their services.
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Meanwhile, in Jiangxi province, authorities have forced at least 40 churches to display banners forbidding foreigners from preaching and anyone under 18 from attending. In August, they even published new rules stating, “Party members who have religious belief should have strengthened thought education.”
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In the spirit of Peter and John, a group of at least 250 Chinese pastors has publicly signed a joint statement opposing the new regulations. In the statement they declare that Jesus is Lord of all, offering eternal life to anyone who will repent and believe in Him.
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But they also say, in a challenge to the Chinese communists, “God hates all attempts to suppress human souls and all acts of persecution against the Christian church, and he will condemn and judge them with righteous judgment.”
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Then, like Peter and John, they pledge obedience not to the earthly authorities but to King Jesus, no matter what. “We declare that in matters of external conduct, churches are willing to accept lawful oversight by civil administration or other government departments as other social organizations do. But under no circumstances will we lead our churches to join a religious organization controlled by the government, to register with the religious administration department, or to accept any kind of affiliation.”

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They close their incredible joint statement with the bracing yet sobering words, “For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses–even the loss of our freedom and our lives.”
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Friends, is it any wonder that the church in China has grown, and continues to grow? What we’re seeing before our eyes is the golden age of the church in China. How can we not pray for these wonderful brothers and sisters? And more than that, how can we not emulate their costly faithfulness in our own little corner of God’s world?
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NO JEWS IN EUROPE AND NO JEWISH STATE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

by Giulio Meotti

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So, 40 per cent of European Jews have considered leaving their countries over the past five years, according to a new poll conducted by the EU agency for fundamental rights, which highlighted the growing concern among Jewish communities in Europe, with almost 90 per cent of Jews saying that anti-Semitism has increased since 2013.
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“Decades after the Holocaust, shocking and mounting levels of anti-Semitism continue to plague the EU”, Michael O’Flaherty, the director of the European agency, said in a statement. “Jewish people have the right to live freely, without hate and without fear for their safety”. Nice words. But that is exactly the point.
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European Islamists, the lead actors of this new anti-Semitism along with the leftist useful idiots, are trying to stage a “final solution” of what they call the “Jewish-Zionist cancer” in the Middle East (Iran’s Rouhani holds the copyright for that term).
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They really want a jüdenrein world, without Jews. Without Jews in Europe, fleeing from anti-Semitism, and without Jews in the Middle East, with the destruction of Israel.
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Europe has become the epicenter of the new war against Israel and the Jews. Europe fights the Jewish State in the political arenas, in the corridors of power in Brussels, in various Western European capitals and the United Nations, inside Israel with the NGOs it funds, the media and the diplomacy.
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So that those responsible for the massacre of Jews in the pizzeria Sbarro di Gerusalemme, of the massacre of Jewish kids at the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv, of the carnage of entire Jewish families during the Passover dinner at the Park Hotel of Netanya, are not termed “terrorists” in Europe, but “militants”.
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Europe is a bystander no more. It has become deliberately responsible for the abominable crime of cultural genocide: wiping out the past existence of a people – the Jews – to eliminate their current political legitimacy and its human, religious, cultural and historical rights. That is why Europe voted along with the Islamic regimes at the recent UN resolutions denying the Jewish history of Jerusalem.
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Europe’s lights are fading under the pressure of different phenomena.
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First of all, Islamism that it is submerging Europe under the darkness in many of its territories and which it degrades severely. The mass arrival of migrants coming from the Middle East, from the Maghreb and from Africa that Europe cannot integrate, nor help return to their countries of origin and are left shamefully to stagnate in precariousness, are the source of great evils. Erosion, decadence, and powerlessness.
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But they are also the source of the development of this violent anti-Semitism with the permanent denigration of Israel.
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We are at the point that many Jews prefer to leave Europe to live in Israel. What a step back, the Jews flee again from Europe to seek peace and security in a country that has only enemies around it, those who as a single entity cultivate the will to find the way to destroy Israel and throw its corpse into the sea.
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“Israel is a vital component of this emerging order as the paradigm nation-state totally committed to its defense and survival” Melanie Phillips just wrote. The order of operations is that made of Trump’s America, Brexit, Eastern Europe and the Jewish State.
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That new order is the Western last chance for cultural survival. That is why anti-Semitism has become a major engine of the Western chaos.

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ISRAEL’S ECONOMIC STRENGTH
reported by Yoram Ettinger, former Ambassador

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1. PepsiCo concluded the acquisition of Israel’s SodaStream for $3.2BN (Globes Business Daily, Dec. 6, 2018). The Chicago-based Thomas Bravo acquired Israel’s Impreva Cyber Security for $2.1BN (Globes, Oct. 12).

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2. Venture capital investment in Israel has grown systematically since 2008, reflecting the steady growth of Israel’s economy.

2018 is expected to score a new record of investment in Israeli startups – $6BN, compared to 2017 – $5.5BN, 2016 – $5BN and 2015 – $4.7BN. The last ten years have produced the highest level of Israeli exits, including a $15.3BN by Mobileye, which was acquired by Intel.

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The last ten years have yielded an unprecedented potential of Israeli startups – which, unlike prior years, are not rushing into tempting exits – to evolve into substantial high tech companies.

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Israel’s time-to-market and time-to-exit is substantially shorter than Europe’s, partly generated by the military experience of Israel’s entrepreneurs (Globes, Dec. 12, Oct. 30, Aug. 1).

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Israel’s Innovation Authority has concluded a series of agreements with global high tech giants, such as Intel, Audi, Abbott, Unilever, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Panasonic, Philips, Nielsen, Fujitsu, Renault, England’s Reckitt Benckiser, etc. – to identify ground-breaking Israeli technologies (Globes, Nov. 29).

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3. Microsoft, Nokia, Cisco, AT&T, Ireland’s Accenture, Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, Bessemer Venture Partners, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Japan’s Softbank, Walmart, Europe’s Airbus, Moody’s and Britain’s Barclays Bank invested in Israel’s Team8 Cyber Security venture capital fund.
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Temasek acquired Israel’s Sygnia Cybersecurity startup, which was on Team8’s portfolio ($4.3MN), for $250MN (Globes, Oct. 24). Intel Capital led a $12MN round of private placement by Israel’s Seamless Network cyber security startup (Globes, Nov. 15).

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4. Hewlett-Packard’s Chief Technology Officer, Shane Wall:

“HP values Israel as a major platform of innovative technologies, which are targeted for investment by HP Tech Ventures (especially in the areas of digital production, artificial intelligence and cyber security). HP has been in Israel for 30 years, employing 3,000 persons.”

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5. South Korea announced its intention to acquire ($292MN) two early warning radar systems, which are developed and manufactured by Israel’s ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of Israel’s Aerospace Industries (Reuters, Nov. 27). Israel’s Aerospace Industries has concluded an agreement with South Korea’s Hankuk Carbon for the joint development and manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicles.
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The 2018 Israeli export to South Korea (around $600MN) was 36% higher than 2017, mostly medical, chemical and metal products. During 2018, Israel’s import from South Korea was around $900MN, mostly machinery and cars.
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A free trade agreement is negotiated between Israel and South Korea (Globes, Oct. 24). According to Avi Jorisch, author of Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World, Israel and South Korea are natural partners, having become regional economic superpowers due to their brain-power, which compensates for their limited natural resources. They are relatively young, born out of war and living under constant military threat, which has induced much tenacity and innovation (The Korea Herald, October 24).

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6. While China’s investments overseas have recently declined, China’s investments in Israel have not.  During the last five years, the most active Chinese investors, in Israel, have been Horizons, CE, GoCapital & EOC, Radiant and Alibaba Capital. Chinese investments have accounted to 12% of the overall investment in Israeli startups, compared with 7.5%-9% during 2015-2017 (Globes, Oct. 30).

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7. According to the Nov. 8 issue of the London Economist intelligence Unit, “Israel begins the process of auctioning off 19 oil and natural gas exploration blocks off the country’s Mediterranean coastline…. 854BN cubic meters of proven natural gas reserves have been discovered and some of them have been extracted…. Israeli firms have signed contracts to sell natural gas to Egypt and Jordan….”

PAST US MIDEAST BLUNDERS – REPEATED OR AVOIDED?

By retired Ambassador Yoram Etteringer

 

Western policy in the Middle East – from Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, through Jordan, Egypt and North Africa – has largely failed due to a multitude of erroneous assessments made by well-intentioned policy-makers, researchers, academicians and journalists.

 

For example, the State Department “wise men” opposed the 1948 establishment of the Jewish State – which they viewed as a potential ally of the Soviet Bloc – contending that it was doomed militarily, demographically and economically.

 

In 1977-79, the US foreign policy establishment courted Ayatollah Khomeini and deserted a critical strategic ally, the Shah of Iran, assuming that Khomeini was seeking human rights and peaceful-coexistence. In 1981, the US punished Israel – militarily, economically and diplomatically – for destroying Iraq’s nuclear reactor, which spared the US a potential nuclear confrontation in the 1991 Gulf War.

 

Until Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the US showered the ruthless Iraqi dictator with intelligence-sharing and commercial agreements. In 1993 and 2005 the US embraced the Israel-PLO Oslo Accord and Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, maintaining that they would advance peace, while in fact they fueled Palestinian hate-education and terrorism.

 

The 2010-11 eruption of the still-raging Arab Tsunami was greeted as an “Arab Spring,” “Facebook Revolution” and “Youth Revolution;” supposedly, leading Arab societies closer to democracy. During 2009-11, the US sacrificed pro-US Egyptian President Mubarak on the altar of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the largest Sunni-Muslim terrorist conglomerate.

 

In 2011, the US led the NATO toppling of Libya’s Qaddafi – who previously surrendered his infrastructure of weapons-of-mass-destruction to the US and systematically fought Islamic terrorism – contending that a post-Qaddafi Libya would be more democratic and pro-Western. In 2018, Libya is one of the largest platforms of Islamic terrorism.

 

In 2015, the US led the JCPOA accord with Iran’s Ayatollahs, which provided the inherently anti-US rogue regime with an unprecedented tailwind to topple all pro-US Arab regimes, intensify terrorism in the Middle East and Africa, and try to push the US out of the Persian Gulf.

 

Notwithstanding the failure of all well-intentioned US initiatives to advance Israel-Arab peaceful-coexistence, the US may introduce another peace initiative, overlooking the face that the only successful peace initiatives were directly negotiated between Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan. And the list goes on….

 

Such a track record provoked systematic criticism by “The Gang of Four,” who were the leading experts/authors on the Middle East: Prof. Elie Kedourie (London School of Economics & Political Science), Professor P.J. Vatikiotis (London School of Oriental and African Studies), Prof. Bernard Lewis (Princeton University) and Prof. J.B. Kelly (University of Wisconsin). Their criticism, which has been in publication since the 1960s, has been resoundingly vindicated by the Arab Tsunami, which has traumatized the Middle East, and threatened the West, since 2010.

 

The four luminaries highlighted the Western tendency to oversimplify the highly-complex, fragmented, unpredictable, unstable, intolerant, violent, frenzied and tenuous inter-Arab reality of the Middle East – irrespective of the Arab-Israeli conflict – which is dominated by ruthless minority-regimes, and is yet to experience inter-Arab peaceful coexistence.

 

For example, Prof. Elie Kedourie exposed the fumbled US policy which energized Iran’s Ayatollahs, stabbed the back of the Shah of Iran – the US Policeman in the Persian Gulf – dealt the US a game-changing setback, and placed a machete at the throat of each pro-US Arab regime in the Middle East: “An emergency was in the making, which involved the regime in Iran, a pillar of US and Western interests.

 

This emergency was the most serious foreign policy test… which President Carter and his leading officials failed…. The Carter Administration was willing to see [the Shah] go because it had persuaded itself that the alternative would institute democracy and human rights…. From Teheran, Ambassador Sullivan argued that Khomeini was anti-Communist, that the young officers were generally pro-Western, that economic ties with the West would subsist, that Khomeini would play a ‘grandpa like role’, and that election would be likely to produce a pro-Western Islamic republic. In Washington, there was a chorus of academic and official voices singing the praises of Khomeini and the National Front….”

 

According to Prof. P.J. Vatikiotis: “For the foreseeable future, inter-Arab differences and conflicts will continue…. Inter-Arab relations cannot be placed on a spectrum of linear development… Rather, their course is partly cyclical, partly jerkily spiral and always resting occasionally at some ‘grey’ area…. What the Arabs want is not always – if ever – what Americans desire; in fact, the two desires may be diametrically opposed…. Even without the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Arab Middle East would have been a conflict-ridden and conflict-generating area…. Arrangements or alliances made by foreign powers with [Arab] regimes are problematic, dangerous, transient and even meaningless….”

 

Moreover, “a political challenge to any of these [Arab] regimes can come only in the form of a violent confrontation. Opposition is subversion; political disagreement is treason. The tolerance of opposition is scarce – in fact, nonexistent…. Power changes are therefore possible only via rebellion or revolution….”  

 

The litany of books and essays on the Middle East by Prof. Bernard Lewis have exposed a self-defeating Western policy, sacrificing realism on the altar of wishful-thinking and oversimplification. Many of them were authored before the 1979 toppling of the Shah, the bombing of the US Embassy and Marine Headquarters in Beirut in 1983, the 1998 bombing of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, the 2001 Twin Towers devastation and the current proliferation of Islamic terrorism in Europe.

 

Prof. Lewis highlighted features of Islam, which have not been fully-comprehended by Western policy-makers, who tend to sacrifice reality on the altar of rapprochement with Islam: “[Non-Muslims] may receive the tolerance, even the benevolence, of the Muslim state, provided that they clearly recognize Muslim supremacy…. That Muslims should rule over non-Muslims is right and normal…. That non-Muslims should rule over Muslims is an offense against the laws of God and nature…. Islam was associated with power from the very beginning…. The world is divided basically into two. One is the community of the Muslims, the other that of the ‘unbelievers.'”

 

Western policy in the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf was severely criticized by Prof. J.B. Kelly: “While the Russians may have miscalculated at times, they have attempted to ground their policy upon reality, not upon wishful-thinking.
Western policy, on the other hand, has been based upon illusions, self-deception and calculations of short-term advantage. Nowhere is this more evident than in the formulation and execution of American policy towards Arabia and the Gulf…. In Arabia and the Gulf, the US government allowed itself to be seduced into adoption and implementing ARAMCO’s plans and those of its Saudi Arabian clients…. The State Department lent its unobtrusive support…. Just how great a part-illusion, self-deception and willful-obtuseness have played in fostering [this policy] is clearly revealed in the transcripts of hearings on the subject of American relations with the Gulf states held by the Senate Foreign Relations and the House International Relations Committees from 1972 onward…. None of this [former Secretary of State Joseph Sisco’s Congressional testimony] bore the remotest resemblance to reality…. It was then, and remains still, a mirage….”

 

Prof. Fouad Ajami, who was the Director of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University, wrote: “Arabs and Israeli are ready for peace, it is said by many in the US and in the Middle East. The missing ingredient, they argue, is the American role and American peace plan. The other side of this promise is a threat: dire consequences are predicted, for the region and for American interests, if the [US] Administration fails to embark on an activist policy.
In reality, the promise is a mirage, the dire consequences an empty threat…. The notion of [the US’] indispensability is a trap. We should not walk into that trap when others set it for us. Certainly, at least, we should be able to avoid entrapping ourselves.”

 

Have Western policy-makers learned from precedents by avoiding – or repeating – costly mistakes? Are they aware that unrealistic policies tend to be self-defeating, yielding more injustice and casualties than that which they intend to cure?!

Replacing Israel With A Palestinian State From The River To The Sea?

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BY ERIC MARGULES/ALGEMEINER.COM

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Marc Lamont Hill, a political commentator was recently fired by CNN after a video surfaced of him calling for “a free Palestine from the river to the sea”.  This phrase is often the rallying call of the terrorist group Hamas, Students For Justice In Palestine and other Islamic groups that would like to see Israel replaced by a Palestinian state.
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So you think that Israel should be replaced by a Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea? That Israel should cease to exist as the world’s only Jewish nation-state — and the only democracy in the Middle East — and be replaced by a country with a Palestinian majority?
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Have you thought about what would happen if Israel disappeared? You center your debate on whether Israel has a right to exist. Perhaps we should instead imagine the hypothetical replacement of Israel with a Palestinian-majority state, and answer some obvious questions:
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What would happen to the six million Jews who live in present-day Israel? Can they count on a Palestinian-led government to protect them? Will they feel safe? Will they be safe? And if they don’t feel safe and need to flee, where will they go? Arab countries expelled them, and surely won’t allow them back in; Europe tried to annihilate them and remains a hostile environment for Jews. Perhaps Jews could flee to North America or other places that are not as hostile, but it’s quite a lot to demand of a people to give up their homeland.
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What will happen to women? Women in Israel have full and equal rights. Women in Arab countries are treated as chattel and second class citizens, often punished severely for daring to exercise rights that Muslim men take for granted.
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What will happen to minority groups? In Israel, non-Jewish minorities have full legal rights. They can vote, are members of the Knesset, and sit on the Israeli Supreme Court. In Arab countries, non-Muslims (and Muslims of the wrong sect) are not full citizens, and never treated as equals. They have no voting rights, no right for governmental representation, and restricted rights in many other aspects of life.
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Who will take over as leading the way in providing disaster aid to the rest of the world? Israel has a long, valuable, and proven track record of helping countries in disaster situations. Arab countries have no record of helping. In fact, they often don’t honor the rare pledges of money or help that they do make.

How will the government of the new country be formed? Despite opportunities, Palestinians have never formed anything but a kleptocracy fueled by foreign aid and terror. Elections haven’t been held in the West Bank in over a decade, and the government in the Gaza Strip obtained power through a violent takeover. Will Jews have any role in the new government? How will Palestinians and Jews work together with such a long history of animosity?
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What kind of government will be formed in the new country? Will it be a democracy, as Israel is? Almost no Arab state is a democracy. Will it be a dictatorship? Will it be a military-run government? Will it be a theocracy? Will there be any place in the government for non-Arabs or non-Muslims?
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What will happen to Jews who don’t live in Israel, and live as minorities in their host countries? Will Jews return to times like World War II, where they had no place to go in desperate situations? Will Jews once again be weak, downtrodden, and vulnerable in their host countries? Will the new country help Jews living elsewhere in any way?
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What will happen to the tremendous first-world economy that has been developed in Israel? Israel is a major incubator of cutting edge technology that helps the world immeasurably. Arab countries have little or no record of helping the world with any kind of product invented by them. No Arab economy is thriving, and many in the Arab world live in squalor.
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It’s not enough to argue about what may or may not have happened in Israel 70 years ago, 100 years ago, or 10 years ago. Certainly, Jews can argue their rights to the land on many levels. But those advocating the replacement of Israel by a Palestinian state need to consider the above.
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There is room for compromise, but replacing Israel should not be an option. To replace Israel with yet another oppressive dictatorship with few or no human rights or protections for minority rights would be a catastrophe. It would not be good for anybody — not Jews, not Arabs living in Israel, and not the rest of world.

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Inciting Next Generation Of Israel-Haters On Campus

BY GARY SCHIFF/JNS.ORG

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It’s hard to believe, but this administration, as well state governments, are funding anti-Israel incitement on college campuses across the nation.
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How? By sending millions of dollars to support Middle East Studies programs, which are dominated by Israel-hating, anti-Semitic professors.
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Almost half of the programs are led by faculty who have endorsed academic boycotts of Israel, and develop and lead BDS rallies and other anti-Israel activities. Even worse, in order to get these government grants, they must conduct teacher-training workshops for teachers of K-12 public schools. This, according to Sarah Stern of EMET (The Endowment for Middle East Truth), who has been working on this issue for years, amounts to little more than “trickle down propaganda.”
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Nurturing and growing the anti-Israel movement in the United States, which has been going on for decades, has horrific long-term ramifications for Israel and the Jewish people. We are funding the academic headquarters for anti-Israel incitement. This funding has to stop.
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It all started innocently enough. In 1965, in the wake of the Cold War, Congress passed an education act that included developing Regional Studies Departments. The objective was to develop proficiency in languages such as Russian and Arabic, and their cultures, so that the Defense establishment would have a candidate pool to draw from to combat existential threats to the United States. As with many good intentions, it didn’t work out exactly as planned, particularly in regards to the Middle East Studies Departments.
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Over the past decades, these programs have been overtaken by rabid anti-Israel leadership and staff. At New York University and Columbia University, fully 24 faculty members, including the department chairs, are actively supporting an academic boycott of Israel. Department chairs at NYU and the University of Michigan recently led BDS rallies. Though some modicum of objectivity is required in order to receive the grants, many of the chairs of these programs are simply lying and no one is holding them accountable.
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Worse yet, the material that is being given to elementary-school teachers can only poison the minds of the young, impressionable children who are in their charge. Just one example “in 1948, Israel had three times the military force of its Arab neighbors who merely wanted to enter Israel to save their brothers and sisters from the Zionists.”
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The teacher’s guide that is most widely used is Audrey Shabbas’s The Arab World Studies Notebook, which characterizes Israelis as villainous racists. They are also openly teaching curriculums that include substantial teachings of Muhammed, and the practice of Islam and Islamic prayer. Can you imagine the outcry if public schools were openly teaching about Jesus and Christianity?
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Despite the fact that in 2008, EMET had successfully worked with Congress to amend the law authorizing this program, so that it reflects “a diversity of perspectives,” nowhere is there a hint of anything resembling the Jewish perspective in these studies. There is nothing taught about the persecution of Jews in Arab lands or the mufti of Jerusalem’s attempted partnership with Hitler.
More importantly, there is nothing taught about the miracle, thank G-d, of how over half of the world’s Jews have returned to our historic homeland; how Israel does everything it can to avoid war; how Israel has the most moral army in the world, notifying residents of Gaza with a 90-minute warning before striking; how we give help to our neighbors with critical medical care and agricultural development; or the force for incredible good we have been to the region and the world.
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Educational incitement is ultimately as great or greater a threat to Israel and our people as weapons. Israel-bashers and Jew-haters have to be taught to hate. Followers of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and Woman’s March leader Linda Sarsour have to be taught. Through our tax dollars, we are unfortunately, helping to train the next generation.
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Spearheaded by Tammi Benjamin of the AMCHA initiative, 69 organizations recently sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos asking her to address this insanity. No doubt the “deep state” within the department, especially those who oversee the program, will push back and find allies to cry about academic freedom. But federally and state funded academic freedom does not mean freedom to lie nor freedom to incite.
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The typical administration response to this campaign would be to “slow-roll” the organizations who signed the letter. We can envision yet another program review, which will take a year or more to complete. It would likely include a few findings and some watered-down unenforceable action items, all while the incitement gathers more followers.
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The national security question to ask is: “Does this program still meet the original intent of the Defense establishment?” It seems to be working at cross-purposes to national security interests. Does the U.S. government and state governments still need to fund these programs? If it can be demonstrated that there is a dearth of Arabic or Farsi speakers, one could appreciate the need for funding the learning of those languages. Barring that, is there still a case to be made to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on these programs?
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The truth is that this has been going on for decades now. And, as Sarah Stern says, “It is no wonder that by the time students go to university, there is only one nation state in the entire world that they are eager to rally against: the State of Israel.” It’s time to put an end to this insanity.

The next Hezbollah-Israel war

by Caroline Glick

 

Israelis woke up last Tuesday morning to the news that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had initiated a new campaign called “Northern Shield.”

The mission, which began in the middle of the night between Monday and Tuesday, is to destroy attack tunnels that Hezbollah, the Iranian-controlled terror army in Lebanon, has excavated. These tunnels begin in Lebanon and end in Israel. The terror tunnel Israel exposed on Tuesday was excavated over a period of two years. Dug 25 meters below the surface, the tunnel was more than 200 meters long, two meters wide, and two meters tall. It penetrated 40 meters into Israeli territory, ending in a field in the agricultural border town of Metulla. According to the IDF, its purpose was to cut Metulla off from the rest of the country.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who is now also serving as defense minister – and IDF Chief of General Staff Gadi Eisenkott held a press briefing Tuesday night where they explained that the tunnel sealed on Tuesday is just one of multiple attack tunnels Hezbollah has built that traverse the border. Netanyahu said that the terror group intends to use these tunnels as part of its plan to conquer the Galilee in the next war.

The current operation, which aims to destroy these tunnels, therefore needs to be seen in the context of shaping the conditions on the ground ahead of that war.

Hezbollah has made no attempt to hide that it intends to invade Israel with ground forces in the next war. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah laid out the plans – put together with his bosses from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps – in 2007, the year after the last war. Nasrallah said then that the next war will see Hezbollah overrunning Israeli border towns in the Galilee with the intention of conquering northern Israel.

Hours before the operation began, Netanyahu flew to Brussels to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The purpose of the meeting, which lasted for three hours ,was to discuss the rapidly deteriorating security situation along Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria. In the last week alone, several events have happened that expose just how dangerous things have become.

One was Iran’s test of a medium-range ballistic missile capable reaching Israel and Europe with multiple warheads.

Iran has also been delivering components for precision guided missiles to Hezbollah through Beirut International Airport. Hezbollah has some 150,000 missiles, all pointed at Israel. Iran has long sought to upgrade Hezbollah’s missile capabilities by providing it with guidance systems that will enable it to conduct pinpoint strikes against Israeli civilian and military targets. As it stands, Hezbollah’s missiles cover all of Israel’s territory.

In Syria, reports have abounded of Iran’s campaign to repopulate Syria with Shiite members of Iranian-controlled militias and their families, particularly in formerly Sunni areas. Syrian President Bashar Assad — now an Iranian puppet — is reportedly naturalizing these Shiite fighters and their families. In part, the move is seen as a way to bypass Russia’s promise to Israel to prevent non-Syrian forces from deploying along the Syrian border with Israel.

Netanyahu’s decision last month to leave Hamas’s massive rocket and mortar barrage against southern Israel largely unanswered was a clear bid to keep IDF forces available for the coming conflict in the north with Hezbollah. Netanyahu and Eisenkot loudly declared that Israel has deployed its commando brigade, augmented by regular armored and infantry units, as well as naval and air force assets.

Some Israeli commentators see the rising threat from Hezbollah and Iran and scratch their heads at the bold headlines that accompanied the initiation of Operation Northern Defense. How can the IDF refer to a few bulldozers sealing a tunnel as an “operation”?

These analysts also note with worry that the IDF is scrupulously avoiding any action inside of Lebanese territory, and sealed only the section of the tunnel that penetrated into Israeli territory. Israel’s avoidance of all contact with Lebanese territory is likely to be seen as a sign of fear and weakness by its enemies. That is particularly the case given that Hezbollah violated Israeli sovereignty by digging its tunnel into Israeli territory.

Are Israel’s leaders so intimidated by Hezbollah that they will not take the simple step of destroying the entire tunnel? Israel has destroyed dozens of Hamas attack tunnels in full, rather than limiting its operations to the sections of the tunnels that entered Israeli territory. Far from showing that Israel is willing to stand up to Hezbollah, the analysts contend, Israel’s limited, careful, almost apologetic operation transmitted a message of fear.

That could be true. But on the other hand, it is hard to see the operation ending with the sealing of one or two tunnels.

In acting as it has, Israel has accomplished three things. First, it secured U.S. support for its operation against Hezbollah. Russia, too, has also backed Israel’s actions. By securing support from both, Israel sets the conditions for a wider operations against Hezbollah from a strong diplomatic position.

Second, Israel’s tunnel-sealing operations expose the fecklessness of UN operations in southern Lebanon. UN Security Council Resolution 1701 from August 2006 set the termsfor the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah following the last war. The resolution charged the UN International Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with preventing Hezbollah forces from deploying along the border with Israel.

For years, Israel has presented mountains of evidence that Hezbollah is openly operating along its border and that UNIFIL has done nothing. In the case at hand, Hezbollah used a greenhouse along the border to hide its quarrying activities as it excavated the tunnel. According to IDF Spokesman Ronen Manalis, the greenhouse is located just meters from a UNIFIL post.

In the next round of war, UNIFIL forces will have no constructive role to play. By pointing out their inaction and failure to fulfill their duties, Israel may be paving the way for the disbanding of UNIFIL. This is important because for the past 12 years, Hezbollah has used UN forces as human shields to protect its operations along Israel’s borders.

The final thing Israel is accomplishing through its small operation against the tunnels is to set events in motion on its terms. In previous rounds of war, Hezbollah has struck first, and often taken Israel by surprise, whether by kidnapping its forces or opening major barrages of missile attacks against Israel, or both. If the tunnel operation is followed or carried out in tandem with operations against Hezbollah’s missile arsenals and precision missile factories recently set up by Iran in Lebanon, then Israel will be able to shape the conditions for the next war to its advantage — and to do so while receiving international backing for its actions.

In his Hebrew-language briefing Tuesday evening, Netanyahu assured the public, repeatedly, that there is much more going on behind the scenes than is going on in front of them.

It is impossible to know precisely how events will develop over the next several weeks, but it is reasonable to assess that Netanyahu was telling the truth. If so, Tuesday appears to have marked the beginning of a serious bid by Israel finally to confront and defeat Iran’s growing military power along its borders.

Prince Charles of Arabia

There are many teachers of biblical prophecy who are nowadays delving into Islamic mythology to support the idea that the coming Antichrist will be a Muslim of Middle Eastern birth. One of their arguments is that Muslims would never accept a Westerner as being their expected Mahdi, whom these teachers believe fits the bill for the Antichrist.  Read on to see just how wrong they are when it comes to the man I point to in my book. A man whose ancestry can be traced back to Middle Eastern dynasties.

RONNI L. GORDON AND DAVID M. STILLMAN
Middle East Quarterly
SEPTEMBER 1997, VOLUME 4: NUMBER 3

[T]he effort for these years to live in the dress of Arabs, and to imitate their mental foundation, quitted me of my English self, and let me look at the West and its conventions with new eyes: they destroyed it all for me.
– T.E.Lawrence Seven Pillars of Wisdom1

Prince Charles has often surprised his future subjects, but few shocks match the allegations of a newspaper article that appeared in October 1996:2

The idea of the Prince of Wales lugging around a prayer mat and turning to face Mecca five times a day sounds a tad unlikely – but, then again, so did confessing to adultery on prime-time television a couple of years ago. So perhaps no one should be shocked by the suggestion in a forthcoming book that Prince Charles has converted to Islam.

This claim was put forward by no less a personage than the grand mufti of Cyprus: “Did you know that Prince Charles has converted to Islam. Yes, yes. He is a Muslim. I can’t say more. But it happened in Turkey. Oh, yes, he converted all right. When you get home check on how often he travels to Turkey. You’ll find that your future king is a Muslim.”3 “Nonsense,” replied a Buckingham Palace spokesman, denying Charles’s supposed conversion. Lord St. John of Fawsley, a constitutional expert, is no less dubious, commenting that “The Prince of Wales is a loyal member of the Church of England.”4 Some time later, a leak to the press told of Charles’s “desire to play a greater role in the Church of England,” an apparent attempt to reinforce the prince’s Anglican credentials.5

Rumors about the Prince of Wales’s conversion to Islam may well be inaccurate; even so, the fact that spokesmen official and unofficial felt compelled to deny this fact results from persistent speculation about Charles’s religious loyalties that arises out of his statements and actions of recent years. And these, in turn, reflect a larger trend in Western society.

CHARLES’S PUBLIC STATEMENTS ABOUT ISLAM

The future Charles III has made several strong public statements endorsing Islam as the solution to the spiritual and cultural ills of Britain and the West. His public advocacy of Islam appears to go back to 1989, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued an edict (fatwa) against Salman Rushdie, a British citizen, for blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad in his novel The Satanic Verses.6 Rather than defend Rushdie’s freedom of speech, Charles reacted to the death decree by reflecting on the positive features that Islam has to offer the spiritually empty lives of his countrymen.

Charles first delivered a major address on Islam on October 27, 1993, at the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford where he is a vice patron of the Centre for Islamic Studies.7 He declared that the usual attitude to Islam

suffers because the way we understand it has been hijacked by the extreme and the superficial. To many of us in the West, Islam is seen in terms of the tragic civil war in Lebanon, the killings and bombings perpetrated by extremist groups in the Middle East, and by what is commonly referred to as “Islamic fundamentalism.”

The Prince of Wales then explained the causes for this distorted understanding:

Our judgement of Islam has been grossly distorted by taking the extremes to the norm. . . . For example, people in this country frequently argue that the Sharia law of the Islamic world is cruel, barbaric and unjust. Our newspapers, above all, love to peddle those unthinking prejudices. The truth is, of course, different and always more complex. My own understanding is that extremes, like the cutting off of hands, are rarely practised. The guiding principle and spirit of Islamic law, taken straight from the Qur’an, should be those of equity and compassion.

Charles suggests that European women may even find something to envy in the situation of their Muslim sisters:

Islamic countries like Turkey, Egypt and Syria gave women the vote as early as Europe did its women-and much earlier than in Switzerland! In those countries women have long enjoyed equal pay, and the opportunity to play a full working role in their societies.

Charles considers Christianity inadequate to the task of spiritual restoration and denigrates science for having caused the West to lose its spiritual moorings. Echoing a common Muslim theme, he declares that “Western civilisation has become increasingly acquisitive and exploitive in defiance of our environmental responsibilities.” Instead, he praises the “Islamic revival” of the 1980s and portrays Islam as Britain’s salvation:

Islam can teach us today a way of understanding and living in the world which Christianity itself is poorer for having lost. At the heart of Islam is its preservation of an integral view of the Universe. Islam-like Buddhism and Hinduism-refuses to separate man and nature, religion and science, mind and matter, and has preserved a metaphysical and unified view of ourselves and the world around us. . . . But the West gradually lost this integrated vision of the world with Copernicus and Descartes and the coming of the scientific revolution. A comprehensive philosophy of nature is no longer part of our everyday beliefs.

He concludes by suggesting that “there are things for us to learn in this system of belief which I suggest we ignore at our peril.”

Among the many titles borne by the British sovereign is “Defender of the Faith,” a reference to the fact that the monarch heads not only the government but also the Church of England. But the prince has reservations about this title. In a June 1994 television documentary he declared his preference to be known as “Defender of Faith” rather than “Defender of the Faith,”8 leading to a rash of speculation that he favors the disestablishment of the Church of England.9

Charles has continued to discuss the role of Islam in the United Kingdom. In a speech at the Foreign Office Conference Centre at Wilton Park in Sussex on December 13, 1996, he called on Islamic pedagogy and philosophy to help young Britons develop a healthier view of the world.10Praising Islamic culture in its traditional form for trying to preserve an “integrated, spiritual view of the world in a way we have not seen fit to do in recent generations in the West,” he went on to say:

There is much we can learn from that Islamic world view in this respect. There are many ways in which mutual understanding and appreciation can be built. Perhaps, for instance, we could begin by having more Muslim teachers in British schools, or by encouraging exchanges of teachers. Everywhere in the world people want to learn English. But in the West, in turn, we need to be taught by Islamic teachers how to learn with our hearts, as well as our heads.

The results of this study will help Westerners

to rethink, and for the better, our practical stewardship of man and his environment-in fields such as health-care, the natural environment and agriculture, as well as in architecture and urban planning.

In addition to these comments on Islam, Charles has taken steps to give that religion a special status. For example, he set up a panel of twelve “wise men” (in fact, eleven men and one woman) to advise him on Islamic religion and culture.11 This caused much talk, especially as the group was reported to have met in secret. Some noted that no comparable body exists to inform the crown prince about other faiths practiced in his future realm.

REACTIONS

Muslim world. Charles has traveled extensively in the Muslim world, with recent visits to Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Bangladesh. He has visited Turkey so often that some observers believe that to be the country where his rumored conversion to Islam took place. In addition, he has visited mosques in the United Kingdom, for example, dropping in on one at the end of Ramadan in April 1996.

Some offices of the British government have found a practical use for the prince’s affection for Islam. In particular, the Foreign Office uses him as a point man for British business interests in Muslim countries, leading one journalist to comment that “the Charles of Arabia phenomenon is here to stay,” for it helps assure British commerce with the Muslim world.12

Although some Britons may be bewildered at Prince Charles’s infatuation with Islam, he has become a hero among Muslims. His February 1997 visit to Saudi Arabia

got moderate coverage in the British press-but it was huge news in the host country. In Saudi Arabia, the overwhelming theme of the welcoming addresses was of the Prince as candid friend of the Islamic world. The warmth of his welcome was extraordinary.

The writer of this account, John Casey of Cambridge University, warns that the British public lacks a clear understanding of Charles’s standing in the Muslim world:

The extent to which the Prince is admired by Muslims-even to the point of hero-worship-has not yet sunk into the consciousness of the British public. When it does, that public may or may not be pleased.

Casey concludes that the prince of Wales’s “hero status” in the Arab world is permanent. “No other Western figure commands this sort of admiration.”13

Charles’s Muslim admirers can be generous in their gratitude. At a private dinner with prince Charles in May 1997, Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia announced a donation by King Fahd of $33 million to Oxford University to construct a new Centre for Islamic Studies at Oxford, a gift designed “to establish Islamic studies at the heart of the British education system.”14

Great Britain. Charles’s speeches provoked a flurry of comments in England. In the popular perception, he is a spiritual dilettante, something of a religious butterfly, flitting from faith to faith and veering, increasingly, towards Islam. . . . The sight of the Prince in yet another prayer shawl only compounds the image of a well-intentioned eccentric seeking divine inspiration.15

Others wonder if Charles is aware of the punishments Islamic law metes out to adulterers-and whether he “exacted some sort of guarantee” before traveling to the Muslim world that he would not be “stoned or beaten by devout Saudi or Bangladeshi natives.”16

Some Englishmen took their prince’s statements more seriously. Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, raised questions about the coherence of Charles’s approach to Islam, commenting that “It is not fair to compare the best ideals of the Islamic faith with the worst of Western cultural decadence.” Sookhdeo also reminded Charles that many Muslims see in Western traditions the solution to their own problems:

What do Muslims living in a Muslim context feel? Are they content to continue submitting to authority in every detail of their lives? Many are not. We hear much about radical Islamists seeking an even closer adherence to the original teachings of Islam. But we hear little about the opposite phenomenon: the Muslims who are attracted by democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, respect for the rights and worth of the individual and other characteristics of Western society.17

Another commentator reversed Charles’s argument and held that some of Britain’s million and a half Muslims need instruction in British values:

it would be interesting to know who they [the Muslim leaders with whom Charles associates] are. Do they include Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammad, who supports Hamas, agitates for an Islamic state, and recently called for homosexuals to fling themselves off Big Ben? Or the dissident Dr. al-Mas’ari, who has used the new freedom of speech which we in this country have given him to call for the extermination of the Jews?18

Prime Minister John Major reacted to Charles’s sentiment about wanting to be known as “Defender of Faith” with the understated comment that “it would be a little odd if Prince Charles was defender of faiths of which he was not a member.”19

The conflict between Charles’s enthusiasm for Islam and his subjects’ leeriness played itself out recently at Oxford, where the reaction to King Fahd’s huge gift to the Islamic center met with little enthusiasm. Oxford faculty oppose the gift, claiming its proposed location-on a greenfield site near the heart of the city-would constitute “overdevelopment.”20Presumably their ecological opposition hides other motives as well.

Interestingly, Charles himself has mildly experienced the wrath of fundamentalist Islam. Just after Ayatollah Khomeini issued his death decree against Salman Rushdie, Charles was in the Persian Gulf and Tehran radio denounced his presence there “as a snub to Islam.”21Because of “heightened security concerns in the wake of Muslim furor over The Satanic Verses,”22 the prince was forced to withdraw from a polo match in Dubai. But this brush with Muslim extremists has not dissuaded Charles from reassuring others that Islam’s problem is only one of image.

It bears noting that Charles is not the royal family’s only link to the Muslim world, for Princess Diana, Charles’s ex-wife, has often been linked to Hasnat Khan, a London-based cardiac surgeon. Just as Charles donned a Muslim prayer shawl, Di wore a traditional shalwar kameezduring her visit to Khan’s family in Pakistan. London’s Sunday Mirror23reports that Khan’s family has approved a possible marriage of the divorced 35-year-old princess and their son, then quoted the princess (via a “friend”) to the effect that she hoped Khan would father a half-sister to her two sons, princes William and Harry. While Diana’s divorce from the heir to the British throne removes her personally from the royal family, her sons could be the first heirs to the British throne with a Muslim stepfather.

CONCLUSION

The denigration of the West at the expense of a foreign tradition that Charles engages in occurs quite commonly among the West’s intellectual elite. For some it is Islam, for others Tibetan Buddhism, Maoist thought, or American Indian spirituality. In all cases, the alien is assumed superior to the familiar. Arthur Schlesinger replies to this that there remains

a crucial difference between the Western tradition and the others. The crimes of the West have produced their own antidotes. They have provoked great movements to end slavery, to raise the status of women, to abolish torture, to combat racism, to defend freedom of inquiry and expression, to advance personal liberty and human rights.24

Should Charles persist in his admiration of Islam and defamation of his own culture, it could be, as The Independent puts it, that his accession to the throne will indeed usher in a “different kind of monarchy.”

Ronni L. Gordon and David M. Stillman are associate scholars of the Middle East Forum.